Mircea Lucescu: Potential and power wise, PSG are stronger than Real Madrid

Head coach of Shakhtar has granted a press conference on the eve of the match against PSG.

- How hard is it for Brazilians to adapt to another country?
- It is not just a question of adaptation. They come to play in a new country as very young players - at the age of 18-19. They need time to change their lifestyle and mindset to adapt to different circumstances and the championship. In particular, I'm talking about Shakhtar Donetsk, where young players come to. In other clubs, it so happens that young Brazilian player returns home after a few months, and the team sign more experienced players. At Shakhtar, players grow along with the club. They gain experience and become top players. You know that we are now in difficult conditions that are insufficient for proper training sessions. At our disposal, there are three or four fields of decent quality. We play all the matches away from home. But we have remained at the same level. In the Ukrainian league and the Champions League, we give our all in every game. Hopefully tomorrow the stadium will be packed. I would like to thank the fans in Lviv for supporting us in the Champions League. Conditions are difficult for us, but in spite of this, we are living and holding up at the highest level.

- What are the strengths of PSG, in your opinion? How will you deal with them in tomorrow's match?
- Why did you not ask me about the strengths of Shakhtar? Still, we play a home game, and PSG – an away one. But seriously, our opponents are a very powerful team. The last four or five years have seen the Paris club progress. They have invested a lot of money and bought talented players: for example, Verratti. Great players are part of this team. I think that potential and power wise, PSG are even stronger than Real Madrid. In the previous two seasons, they reached the quarter finals of the Champions League. I think that this year they will advance to this stage too. I do not know how but I think they will. I do not want it to happen at our expense: I'm talking about how teams from Eastern Europe are refereed. I do not want to repeat it again, but every time we play with the top clubs, we are underestimated, disrespected, penalty kicks are not awarded against our opponents – as in the match against Real Madrid: infringement of rules, Stepanenko’s red card. And if you remember the match with Barcelona in Monaco when a penalty kick was not awarded when the score was 0-0, matches with Manchester United, Arsenal. Again, I do not want a similar situation to occur again. I want neutral, fair refereeing, to be treated the same way as top clubs. Speaking of PSG, they are a very streamlined team, with strong defence and attack, a cohesive team with talented players. For us it will be a test, an exam. I consider them favourites. This is a test not only for us but also for the Lviv crowd, who, hopefully, will show decent support in tomorrow's match - we are looking forward to it. We look forward to a positive outcome and will make every effort to achieve it.

- What is the state of Donbass Arena and your training base in Donetsk?
- The stadium is in excellent condition. We can go back even tomorrow and play matches there. Everything is fine there. With regard to our training base, I have less information. I hope everything is fine. I was surprised that the PSG have asked the fans not to go to Lviv. On the contrary, football helps resolve the situation, helps bring peace. Why, then, not to allow football fans to travel to Lviv to support their team? This is one of the tools that will allow us to return to a normal situation.

- Do you hope to return to Donetsk one day?
- Why am I here? To return to Donetsk and play there!

- What can you say about PSG’s stars and key attacking players: Di Maria and Ibrahimovic?
- All players of PSG can be regarded as stars. Much money has been spent on purchasing them. All their players are not French besides Matuidi. You know all of them: Ibrahimovic, Di Maria, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Verratti. These are brilliant players.

- What about Cavani? Is he overshadowed by Ibrahimovic and Di Maria?
- Edinson is an engine of PSG’s attacks. He is the one who scores and plays a key role in the team’s attack.